If you’re into color, you might have noticed that Pantone named “Radiant Orchid” their color of the year. I know my Pinterest feed was filled with pictures of the Radiant Orchid, suggestions on ways to use Radiant Orchid in your home, ways to wear Radiant Orchid, how include Radiant Orchid into your diet, etc. (…I may have made that last one up.) While I would say “It’s a nice color” and leave it at that, Pantone is much more articulate:
Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.
Since I am a great fan of joy, love and health, I thought it might be nice to mix up some ink for printing in Radiant Orchid. I also figured that you might be a great fan too, and interested in printing with some of this lovely color in your own projects. So, here’s how I went about developing a recipe for Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year (if you just want the recipe without all the fuss about the process, skip to the end):
I used Jacquard Professional Screen Inks in White, Blue and Red. I like this brand of ink because it’s nice and thick, it has a long shelf life and the pigments are consistent (which turns out to be really important when you want to make the same color over and over). It’s downsides are that it can be too thick (but can be watered down) and it leaves a noticable, kind of sticky feel on the fabric- not a big deal on a handbag or lamp shade, but problematic on a pillow cover or skirt.
I started out with a base of white ink, because it appeared to me to have a lot of white. I added 1 teaspoon of blue and 1 teaspoon of red.
The mixture looks very patriotic before mixing, and much less like Radiant Orchid than I had hoped after mixing. I add 2 more teaspoons of blue ink. (FYI- 1 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons = 3 teaspoons, which equals 1 tablespoon of blue ink.)
Better, but not there yet. In goes one more tablespoon of blue ink.
I keep track of the ink recipe as I go along, making a quick smudge on the fabric and writing down what I’ve added in each step.
I do this for two reasons. First, it makes it easier to keep track of what I’ve put in so that I can calculate a final recipe at the end. Second, ink changes color as it dries, and in different kinds of light. The light in my basement studio can be kind of… basement-y. Once the ink is dry and is viewed in daylight, I often find that the color I was trying to mix was in one of the steps along the way rather than the final result.
I add 1 more teaspoon of blue ink and 1/4 teaspoon of red ink, and mix the ink thoroughly again. This one, I think, looks pretty good! I print a sample leaf print on the bottom of my scrap fabric as a final test.
Now, if it’s difficult to make a color match in different lights, with ink that changes color when it dries, it becomes even moreso when you’re trying to match that color from the screen on your iPhone. (Let’s pretend that there’s also no difference in the color representation between different monitors and all that, ok?) Until I acquire my own Pantone deck, this method will get me in the ballpark. Just for fun, I compared my own Radiant Orchid to the original Pantone picture: And finally, here’s my recipe for mixing Radiant Orchid (~ish) using Jacquard Professional Screen Inks:
- 1/4 cup White Ink
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of Blue Ink
- 1 1/4 teaspoons of Red Ink
Mix very thoroughly. This should make about 1/3 cup of ink- enough to print about a 1/2 yard of fabric.